BALBOA VS THE EARTH SLAYER
Lyrics not available
Page last updated: 02 Jun 2011
BALBOA VS THE EARTH SLAYER is an unpublished Bruce Springsteen song from the
Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. period (April 1972 to February 1973).
Recording and Live Performances
Down Thunder Road: The Making Of Bruce Springsteen, a 1992 book
written by Marc Eliot with the cooperation of Springsteen's former producer/manager Mike Appel,
rates BALBOA VS THE EARTH SLAYER as one of Bruce's finest of the period and describes it as having
an anti-war theme. The song was written around Aug-Sep 1972. It is not clear if it has ever been
recorded, but it may have been performed live at some 1972 shows. It is also rumoured that it was
played in 1972 or 1973 at benefits held to oppose nuclear energy and promote a nuclear freeze. In
2010, a Springsteen fan asked Appel if it's likely that we'd ever hear the song. He answered
something along the lines of maybe one day we'll hear it, but knowing Bruce it could be next year
or in 20 years.
Super Bowl VII
Before Bruce Springsteen's debut album has even been released, Springsteen's
now former manager and producer Mike Apple hyped the National Football League (NFL) trying to get
his client booked to perform the song BALBOA VS THE EARTH SLAYER at the 14 Jan 1973 Super Bowl VII
at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Appel suggested to the NBC producer in charge of the NFL
Super Bowl festivities that Springsteen should open with BALBOA VS THE EARTH SLAYER first and then
do the national anthem. Appel's plan was immediately and predictably rejected and nothing came of
it. Singer Andy Williams accompanied by the Little Angels of Chicago's Angels Church from Chicago
opened the game with the national anthem and Springsteen ended up that day opening for David
Bromberg at Paul's Mall in Boston, MA.
Appel was criticized for his bold move. In Down Thunder Road: The Making Of
Bruce Springsteen, Appel explained: "I kept on doing whatever I thought would help. Now,
I've been taken to task by some critics for blowing my top when NBC refused to let Bruce sing an
'antiwar song' at the '73 Super Bowl and carrying on like an idiot, threatening the TV executives
and whatever. The real story, as usual, is so much simpler. First of all, contrary to popular
belief, I didn't want them to replace 'The Star-Spangled Banner' with Bruce's 'Balboa vs. The
Earth Slayer.' What I actually suggested was that Bruce sings 'Balboa' before the national anthem,
because it was a great combatant song. I was so in love with that song that I figured I'd just
make the call and try it. Let's remember how I got Bruce on CBS in the first place. So I failed
here. So what? The same strategy worked beautifully a couple of years later when I managed to get
Bruce on the covers of Time and Newsweek the same week."
Unknown Songs from 1972-1975
Bruce Springsteen often creates song titles first and then attempts to write
words and music around it, so the existence of a song title is no guarantee that a song was ever
created. From the early 1972 to early 1975 period, there are many titles garnered from completed
lyric sheets, partially completed lyric sheets, or documents in Springsteen's handwriting
containing song titles but no lyrics. There is as yet no evidence that these were completed songs
(both words and music) and no evidence that they were recorded during any of the first three
albums' studio sessions. If they do exist as recordings, then they would most likely be either as
work-in-progress home cassette recordings or from the little known about 1974 sessions at 914
Sound Studios in New York.
Most of these titles came to light in the second edition (1992) of Charles R.
Cross book Backstreets: Springsteen, The Man And His Music. Very few were mentioned in
the first edition (1989), but the second edition was more accurate and more detailed of the two
versions of Cross's book. The primary reason for the flood of new and previously undocumented
information in the second edition book is that soon after the first edition was published, Cross
was granted quality interview and research time with Mike Appel at Appel's office. And as part of
that, he was allowed to go through Appel's files of surviving Laurel Canyon-related documentation,
which included inventory lists and some lists of song titles. At the time, Appel did not have any
transcription/lyric sheets (or photocopies of them) in his possession because they had been handed
over to Springsteen as part of terms and conditions of the 1977 legal settlement.
There was also an untitled list of about a dozen titles in Appel's files dated
to spring 1975. Cross included them in his book as song titles, but it was later confirmed through
Appel that this list was not of song titles, but rather potential album titles for the
work-in-progress 3rd album and not song titles.
In an interview with Mark Hagen published on Mojo magazine in January
1999, Springsteen implied that the only unreleased song from the Born To Run sessions
that is complete and in release-quality and not included on the Tracks box set was
WALKING IN THE STREET. This means that it is
highly unlikely that any of the titles from late 1973 to early 1975 was recorded in a complete
form and is ready for release.
to display/hide detailed list of unknown songs from 1972-1975]
Credits / References
Thanks FFDan, HazyDavy (roulette909 at BTX), Sal's Grocery (at Greasy Lake),
and Peter (at Greasy Lake and
Lost In The Flood). Some
of the above info is taken from
If you have any additional information, corrections, or comments, please contact
me via the below form or by email: . You
will be credited. Thanks in advance.